Mariam Saleh Binladen is an advocate for the plight of the Syrian refugee children, who are currently bearing the brunt of the ongoing war. Mariam pairs her passion for swimming with their cause; in partnership with the United Nations Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) through her swims, Mariam works to raise awareness of the hardships and burdens being faced by these young orphans.

Born in London and raised in Jeddah, Mariam grew up in a household with her five siblings that fostered a spirit of independence and adventure as well as a sense of personal responsibility and duty toward creating a positive impact in the world. This sense of adventure, coupled with Mariam’s determination, led Mariam to her first summer camp in the United States at just ten years old. It was there where she first tapped into her love of swimming.

After spending her formative educational years in Jeddah, Mariam studied dentistry at MUST University, Cairo, followed by her post-graduate studies with the German Board of Implantology.

Aside from her formidable feat of being the first woman to swim 101 miles of the Thames River in the United Kingdom, Mariam was the first Arab and first Saudi woman to complete the open-water Hellespont swim (crossing from Europe to Asia, across the Dardanelles Strait).

Through her swims, Mariam aims to financially support and raise the profile of the grim, and oftentimes tragic, plight being faced by Syrian orphans, every single day. All funds raised from Mariam’s swims are directed to UNHCR.